Ashley & Matthew's Escape Wedding-3/16/18- YCG & Crescent Terrace (Updated 05/22-*Vendor Review*)


Jan 18, 2017
Hello all! Okay, so I have been debating on whether or not to do a planning journal for the past 6 months! Initially I was very hesitant of it because of the time-intensiveness of it all, especially the adding photos and linking everything together. I am very impatient and those tedious things tend to really bug me LOL but I decided to go ahead and just go for it! So, I apologize if this isn't the most aesthetically pleasing PJ haha but I'm giving it my best shot!

Also, so since I've been (officially ;) ) planning for roughly 6 months now, I have a LOT to catch you all up on! I'll do my best to start at the beginning and make it as succinct as possible.

About us:
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My name is Ashley and my fiance's name is Matt. We are both teachers in Orlando, Florida, and have both lived here in Orlando for most of our lives. We love Disney and are Annual Passholders. We also love to travel and have been to St. Maarten, France, Italy, and Portugal together, as well as on 2 cruises.
I grew up going to Disney multiple times per year- even when I lived in Chicago as a kid, my parents had annual passes. After college, I lived abroad (in Portugal) and in Louisiana for a few years, and moved back to Orlando when my previous marriage ended. I hadn't been to Disney in about 5 years before I met Matt, but he could tell what a big part of my life it was. For my birthday our first year of dating, he got us Annual Passes for the year, and my love affair with Disney was reignited! Ever since then, we've renewed our passes each year and it's become one of our favorite activities to do together. The "rebirth" of my Disney love also led me to start researching Disney Weddings again, so I started lurking on the DisBoards well before we were engaged. But more on that later...

The proposal
So I've known my fiance Matt for almost 3 years now, and we got engaged this past March at the Polynesian Resort! We had been dating for a little over 2 years when the proposal happened. We met online and have both been married before. One of the best things about our relationship is our silliness and the goofiness we share. We are always laughing and kidding around which each other, and I love the light-heartedness of our relationship.

I had been subtly bugging matt for quite a while about the proposal LOL and he definitely knew I was ready. I knew he was going to propose at SOME point, but I honestly was not sure when. He and my family were REALLY good at throwing me off and making sure I really had no clue. I did have some hint that it was coming on the day of as he had planned this very extravagant night at the Poly, seemingly for no reason at all. I'm extremely intuitive so I figured- "this has to be it!"- but I wasn't 100% sure...

So the plan was to go to the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show as a belated Christmas gift (again, very random- why wait til March if this was a Christmas gift? They didn't have ONE sooner reservation? lol). We arrived at the show and it was awesome. It was my first time there and I didn't know what to expect. We both loved it! During dinner, I noticed Matt kept taking his jacket with him when he went to the restroom, so I started feeling more and more like it might happen that night. After the show, he started walking me in the direction of the Grand Floridian. I thought "hmm, this is odd!". The thing to know about Matt is: he is TERRIBLE with directions. I mean absolutely, God awful. He will get lost going pretty much anywhere unless he has step-by-step directions. So, I could tell he was searching for somewhere that he just wasn't finding LOL. He kept walking towards GF saying "there's a bar this way my coworker told me about". Well, I'm a Disney guru, so I knew that just simply wasn't true LOL. He stopped and called his "friend" Gina to find out where this restaurant was (it was really my mom). Finally, we turn the other direction and head onto the Poly beach. As we're staring off looking at the castle, he mumbles something about all of the amazing memories we've had together, and then FINALLY gets down on one knee! It was an amazing moment and it ended up working out perfectly. It was so very "us" and so quintessentially "him" to get lost trying to find "the spot" my mom had scoped out the prior weekend.
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Another piece to this story was that he and my parents had planned a sabotage story that they were going to Tallahassee to see my sister and BIL for the weekend. He knew how important it was to me to have my family there to celebrate the engagement with us afterward, so that was part of the cleverness of the "plan" was that I would think it couldn't possibly be that weekend since my parents were "out of town". After the proposal, he said that he was sorry we couldn't celebrate with my parents, but that we would celebrate with them the next weekend. Lo and behold, we walk up to Trader Sams to grab a celebratory drink, and there's my whole family- grandma included!- there to celebrate! It was a magical night and the staff at the Poly was amazing. We felt on cloud 9 and really had an amazing night. We stayed up til 2am that morning talking about all of the planning I had already (not-so-secretly) done and the ideas I had. It was a night I'll never forget!

pic7.jpg pic8.jpg (my ring is my dream ring from Tiffany's. We went to Flower and Garden the next day as a fam, and I got this awesome photo in the butterfly tent!)

Up next, I'll get into how we decided on Escape and our venue choices, followed by our engagement photos and my dress!
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Jan 18, 2017
Choosing Escape and our venues!
Why Escape
So now that it was time to start officially planning, we had to discuss all of the things I had researched and thought about for months! :tongue: Matt knew I had been basically planning our wedding for the past few months so it was mostly just filling him in on what I had found. We are in an interesting position being that we are local, because we really don't have to take into account too many people traveling. My family partially lives in Chicago, but that's the farthest we really have. I had always dreamed of getting married at Disney, and ever since I was in high school had the perfect ceremony venue picked out in my head. When I knew Matt was "the one", I had my heart set on marrying him at that dream location I had held onto in my heart all these years.

So then, when I started researching if a Disney wedding was even possible for us, one of the things that kept holding me up was the minimums for the Wishes package. It frustrated me so much that we couldn't have a Wishes ceremony and a reception off site! That would have been the perfect solution for us. So, I had pretty much settled on the fact that I was going to have to have Escape if I wanted to have that venue I'd always dreamed of. There was just no way we were going to be able to afford the Wishes minimums. Some of my absolute non-negotiables were I wanted a night time reception and I wanted it on a Friday or Saturday. So, that didn't leave us with much choice to be flexible on the pricing LOL. Not to mention, to be quite honest, I wasn't IN LOVE with any of the reception spaces that I was initially seeing online. Now that I've been immersed in Disbride culture I know there are MUCH more venues available than they show on the DFTW website, but at the time I just really didn't even see myself having a reception at any of the standard places. So, since we are local, we decided to go the whole "you're invited to the reception but not the ceremony" route, so that way we could still have the big party with everyone we wanted to invite off site, and have our ceremony at our dream location, which is....

Yacht Club Gazebo!


So I know this location isn't super popular. But for me, there is really no more perfect place for us for a number of reasons:
1. I have dreamed of getting married at the Gazebo since I was 14. Being from Orlando, we often went to the Boardwalk to walk around for something to do on a Saturday or Sunday evening. My sister and I passed the Gazebo once, and both said how perfect of a place it would be to get married. Ever since then, I've dreamed of getting married there. My first marriage was a quick, low-key thing that took place in my ex-in-law's back yard. My ex was not into Disney and was definitely not into spending a lot of money, and I always regretted not getting married at "that gazebo I love". I've always felt like meeting Matt was truly my 2nd chance at having the perfect happy ending I always wanted, and I started believing that in terms of the Wedding too. I showed the Gazebo to Matt and he loved it as well. It was perfect!
2. Not to mention, for us, the lack of privacy is actually going to be to our advantage. With having less people formally invited to the ceremony, we decided we were going to try to swing the whole idea of "lurkers". There is nothing that stops people from watching the ceremony from the boardwalk, and we are going to alert our guests that are not apart of the 18 that they are welcome to view the ceremony from the boardwalk. We're also getting garden view rooms for my stay the night before and the night of the wedding, and we are going to request that the room faces the gazebo (and request is putting it lightly LOL, we will be calling every Tom, Dick, and Harry before hand and during check-in to try to 100% make that happen), so therefore some of my cousins and close family members can watch the ceremony from the room we have.
3. We both really wanted an outdoor space. The WP is gorgeous, but is very church-feeling for us. We love that we get to be outside, in March (one of the best months in FL), with the cool weather and beautiful flowers. I also love the long walkway, and on several occasions we've gone by there we've seen the cutest little bunny friends each time, which we always joke are our "wedding crashers"!

But where to have the reception?
So now that we had the ceremony squared away, we had to decide on the reception. We knew that even though we were going to have a small ceremony, we wanted a full party for a reception. We wanted everything relatively traditional- the DJ, the food, the dancing, etc! Especially for me since I didn't get these things the first time at my first wedding, I think its really been an important part of the planning process to really think about what I want and be sure that this time, I get it (within reason, ha!). Because we wanted dancing, a Dessert Party at EPCOT or MK Resort was out. Because we were Escape, we had to find an off-site venue for the reception. Originally I had researched the Caribe Royale resort near to Disney on 535, but then as we started counting up how many ACTUAL guests we would have, I had this nagging idea: how about Swan and Dolphin? Why don't you look at how much it would cost there? After doing some research, I realized they had the PERFECT venue that matched my vision almost exactly: The Crescent Terrace!
I had always dreamed of a night time, outdoor, garden reception with glowing market lights and lots of greenery/hedges. Crescent Terrace at night has its own built-in market lights (score! I won't have to order them from the DJ!) and they have lots of greenery with the trees acting as a sort of canopy. After crunching some numbers and making sure they could go below the posted prices on their website (cause those are basically the same price as Wishes!), we made the decision! I contacted S&D Catering 3 days after we were engaged to start the contract process.

So there ya have it! We are definitely a unique wedding setup. In all of my lurking on the DisBoards and on the FB pages, I honestly haven't seen another bride combining Escape and a full reception at S&D- and I kind of like that (I think LOL)! :banana:It's definitely going to be different and unique, but with the exception of not having everyone we want with a seat at the ceremony, it works out perfectly for us and gives us the best of both worlds. I'm truly so excited and I hope that the viewing from the boardwalk doesn't turn off too many people, but its one of those things I've had to say "you know what, this is our wedding, not theirs".

Next up- Wedding details and "THE DRESS"!
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DIS Veteran
Oct 11, 2008
I love your idea of doing both! That patio looks so breathtaking! I cannot wait to see your ideas! We are getting married September 1, but an at home wedding with a Disney feel. We just have too many people that would have to be invited and sadly dont have a spare $200k lying around to cover what a Disney wedding would cost lol!


Jan 18, 2017
I love your idea of doing both! That patio looks so breathtaking! I cannot wait to see your ideas! We are getting married September 1, but an at home wedding with a Disney feel. We just have too many people that would have to be invited and sadly dont have a spare $200k lying around to cover what a Disney wedding would cost lol!
Thank you! I appreciate it :) I can't wait to share more ideas with you all. I totally understand the need for an at-home wedding lol. We honestly lucked out with having way LESS people than I thought we would have, so that's really the only reason why it's even possible for us. All in all we'll have about 50-55 people, so that made it doable. When I very first started planning I thought we would have easily 75-80, which is why I thought we'd HAVE to have a completely off-site reception. Your wedding sounds lovely though, and the Disney touches will be just as special as if it was here! I'm sure it's going to be AWESOME!
  • ALegrande

    Jan 18, 2017
    The Details
    Gonna try to knock all of these out within a week to get caught up to the present. Whew- lots of typing in my future!

    I realized I never really explained much about our date, but I think because there's not much to explain LOL. We are both teachers, so obviously working within the times we are off for the year was important to us. We both were previously married over the summer so that was out, as well as the fact that it is literally UNGODLY here in the summer and we both preferred to be outside. I'm not a fan of fall or winter at all, so spring made the most logical sense, therefore spring break would be the time off we could work with. I knew I needed a Friday for Escape, so voila! March 16th, 2018 is what we landed on :) Its at the very start of our spring break, so we can use that whole next week for a honeymoon.

    Now, for the other details! If I had to put a "theme" to our wedding it would be Whimsical Garden Party. I just love the whole idea of old-timey, upscale, outdoor parties complete with dancing, lots of booze, games, and food. I tried to stick with that as best I could with all of the different details!

    So I am a huge purple freak and since we are getting married in Spring, purple seemed the most logical! I first considered purple and green, but realized that didn't quite fit my vision. So we are going with various shades of purple, with the main colors being a dark plum and a light lilac.

    Ceremony decor
    Since we are Escape, there's not a ton of choices or options available for the ceremony. We will be adding the "light sprinkling" of rose petals in lavender to sort of class up the space a little bit, and we are adding a sand ceremony. Other than that, there really aren't much other details to the ceremony that will be added.

    Okay so I loooooove big, tall centerpieces. I knew 100% that was what I wanted for the reception. I found this photo almost instantly in my beginning searches and knew I had to have something similar!

    So ours will look something similar to that. I really had trouble finding the vases for these, but thankfully, the deep rabbit holes of Amazon led me to something pretty close to the picture. We are doing our own floral as a way to cut costs, so I had to purchase these rather than rent them from a florist. (Side note for that- We're ordering all of our floral from Publix, and let me tell you, they have been AWESOME to work with! So knowledgeable and accommodating and willing to do whatever I wanted) I can't wait to see these at the reception!

    Other floral
    Again, since we aren't adding much floral to the ceremony, I also have to order some small table arrangements for the sweetheart table and cake table. Both will be pretty much the same and will look something like this, only not in bouquet form:
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    My bouquet is provided through our Escape package, and I asked them to tweak some of the flowers for the Cascading Beauty bouquet (changing the lilies to white and roses and spray roses to lavender). For my bridesmaids, we're doing fake flowers from Hobby Lobby that we'll put together over Christmas Break. Those will also be combinations of light and dark purples, mostly hydrangeas and roses.

    Bridesmaids and dresses
    So our bridal party is a little lopsided LOL because, bless his heart, my fiance just doesn't have many male friends. Being an elementary school teacher, most of his coworkers are women, and he grew up in South Florida where most of his friends have moved away or fell out of touch. So he has 3 groomsman, one of which is my own brother-in-law, while I have 5 bridesmaids.

    For their dresses, I wanted to do the two contrasting colors in the lineup. I love lace and wanted something beautiful and elegant, so I decided on these:

    The dark plum dress will be for my Maid and Matron of honor (I couldn't pick between the two girls, so I have both a maid and a matron ;) ) and the light dress will be for the other bridesmaids. They're from David's Bridal which makes it easy for everyone and I'm glad I went that route. I've heard horror stories lately of girls using online boutiques or made-to-measure stores that just don't quite make the cut. I'm happy the girls can work with David's wherever they are and don't have to stress about measurements or changing sizes too much.

    The cake
    So for our cake I was 100% inspired by a post DFTW made over the summer of a white cake with quotes on it. I love love love Disney movies and really thought this would be a great secondary "theme" to the wedding. So throughout the reception there will be disney quotes framed, and the cake will have quotes going around it the whole way. Here's the inspo:
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    Ours will be a bit different in that it will only be a 2 tiered cake, and since its a smaller sized cake the Bakery team suggested printing the quotes on fondant that gets wrapped around the layers. So our quotes will be printed in a dark plum purple ink and will be wrapped around the two layers. They're supposed to send me a proof, so I'm interested to see what this ends up looking like. I'm sure it will be great though! We are upgrading our cake flavors to Wishes flavors- yellow cake with hazelnut filling for the bottom layer, and chocolate cake with "the grey stuff" filling for the top layer. I'm SO excited to eat this cake! LOL

    Other details:
    One of the things I'm also really excited about is our "garden games" station at the reception. I always have felt like the best weddings have some sort of activity other than dancing, so I wanted to incorporate SOMETHING like that in ours. I decided-what would be more fun than having a bunch of yard/garden games for people to play? We'll have Giant Jenga and Corn Hole, as well as Ladder Golf, and a few tables with games like Cards Against Humanity, "Marvel" themed Guess Who, and Dominos (a family favorite and tradition for me). I also feel like this fits in the "whimsical" part of our theme I mentioned LOL so it works... I think? :P

    Apart from the quotes, we're also heavily using the Mickey-Minnie kissing silhouette and marquee letters. IDK why but something about the marquee letters with the market lighting really screams "garden party" to me. We're going to have koozies for favors (I collect them so, naturally LOL), and we're having an "advice and well wishes for the new Mr. & Mrs. " station.

    I'm soooo beyond excited to see all of this come together in a few months. I've had all of these ideas swimming around my head for months, and I'm so anxious to see if they all "work" and "flow" together. Also I'm just so beyond excited/anxious to see the perfect vision of my wedding day all pulled together! March can't get here fast enough!
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    Earning My Ears
    May 12, 2017
    Oh! I want to do garden games at ours too! Hopefully when we are officially booked I can find out if that's do-able at our location!! I have been plotting it out for a few weeks since we wont have a dj and I just don't want people to be incredibly bored!​


    Jan 18, 2017
    @mscupcke yeah I think they are a great idea! Idk if you follow This Fairytale Life’s blog, but she just interviewed a bride who did Garden games too, and didn’t have a DJ. Your wedding sounds lovely!
  • mscupcke

    Earning My Ears
    May 12, 2017
    @mscupcke yeah I think they are a great idea! Idk if you follow This Fairytale Life’s blog, but she just interviewed a bride who did Garden games too, and didn’t have a DJ. Your wedding sounds lovely!
    I think our weddings are very similar! (even my bridesmaids dresses are similar in colors)


    Jan 18, 2017
    The Engagement Photos and our Food Tasting
    Engagement photos
    Alright- long post alert! LOL. I have a LOT to get caught up on so I'm just gonna go for it here in this post.

    So, of course, now that we're engaged and have our wedding details worked out, we had to get Save the Dates sent out. Being that about half of our family is coming from IL, I wanted to give them plenty of notice. Not to mention, even our local friends will need to do some saving seeing as they will most likely be staying out at Disney for at least one night.

    Long before I got engaged, I really had trouble nailing down where I would want to take engagement photos. I naturally was thinking somewhere Disney, but wasn't quite sure where. Our wedding will be in the Boardwalk area, so I was wanting a different hotel. I went back and forth and even couldn't really decide so I ended up telling our photographers at first that we were going to take them at this historical house near us, not on Disney property. But I knew deep down that I really wanted Disney engagement photos, so I kept thinking on it. Eventually, the perfect idea sort of came to me.

    My family has always LOVED the Caribbean Beach Resort. This has been our "go to" resort since I was very young. Massive family reunions, holiday vacations, and staycations have all taken place there. I realized that I would love to take our engagement photos at a place that means so much to me and my family and now my fiancé. So once we booked our photographer (Miranda Grey Weddings), we finally confirmed the engagement photos at the Caribbean! We were so excited!

    ....until we found out about the MASSIVE construction project that was started there in March of this year! :sad: Okay, so I definitely freaked out at this point. I mean, we've been going to CBR for almost 30 years, and NEVER have they revamped the resort like this. Whyyyyy does this have to be happening NOW!? When I REALLY need the resort to be perfect and pristine for our photos!? :sad: So, after doing some reconnaissance, crying a lot, and scoping out a 2nd backup location in case our photos really sucked, we decided to go through with it. Thankfully, the construction had really just begun when we did our engagement photos in June. I didn't get any pictures at Old Port Royale, which I was bummed about, but overall we got some pretty great shots just amongst the greenery of the resort.

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    We ended up making a weekend out of the trip, as it was our first official weekend of Summer Break. We stayed at CBR and brought my parents out in the evening for dinner and drinks. Then we took advantage of Extra Magic Hours at AK since Pandora had just opened (WOW- Amazing!). It was overall an awesome stay, and we LOVE how our photos came out! We also had decided to stay out there, because we were able to set up for the next day...

    The Tasting!

    So since we are booking our reception through S&D, part of our package included a free tasting of our menu items for us and up to 4 guests! We were so excited for this part because the food is such a big part of the wedding for both of us.

    Again, since I had been planning this wedding for literally months already, it was pretty easy for us to nail down a menu pretty quickly haha. I pretty much had figured out all of the best things we could afford that both me and my fiancé love. Our menu ended up being set at this:

    Cocktail Hour
    Jumbo shrimp skewers
    Chips, queso, guac, and salsa
    Mini chicken quesadilla cones
    Vegetable crudité cups in ranch

    Buffet dinner
    Herb crusted beef carving station
    Mac and Cheese bar with pancetta, peas, crab, and breadcrumbs
    Mashed potatoes
    Mini corn on the cob

    Wedding cake
    Beignet station with nutella spread, warm berry compote, chicory cream, whipped cream, and cinnamon sugar

    We realize our main course is fairly light, but we also have been to so many weddings where there was countless options for food, many of which went to waste. They're going to keep out any leftovers from the cocktail hour, so it will appear as though there are a lot more choices than there are.

    So our tasting was set up for the Monday after our engagement photos. Let me tell you, it was AMAZING! They treated us like royalty and had a gorgeous setup for us. They served us and waited on us hand and foot, provided champagne and other drinks, and were great to work with as far as menu suggestions and alterations to the menu.


    In the end, we LOVED all of our food, and it was the first time I really felt EXCITED for this wedding. Up to this point, it was mostly executing all the ideas I had been thinking about for months. At the tasting, I could really see our guests enjoying these items, ooh-ing and aah-ing over them, and having a great time. It really started feeling REAL!


    Jan 18, 2017
    The DRESS!
    ...But not as real as I would feel a few weeks later when I finally found my dress! So this adventure also wasn't without its share of hiccups lol, much like finding out our engagement photo location was completely under construction- argh! :mad:- this particular weekend definitely tested the 'ol nerves!

    So, as with EVERYTHING, I had already scoped out the perfect dress shopping location (are you guys sensing a pattern here? LOL) and made an appointment right after we got engaged. I knew that I would be almost sure to find a dress there, due to all the research I did about this place. The location was Casa di Bella in Celebration, FL. I chose it because they are a small shop that only has space to accommodate one bride at a time. I really liked the idea of being the only one in the shop and not feeling overwhelmed comparing myself to other brides, getting distracted by them, etc.

    So after being so psyched for this appointment, I get a call the day before that the shop's A/C had gone out, and couldn't be fixed until Monday, and they would need to reschedule my appointment. Ummmmm.... wut? No. This was not possible. I had zero appointments booked anywhere else. My sister at that moment was literally en route from Tallahassee. We had reservations for Tea at the Grand Floridian afterwards. No. We were HAVING the appointment! So, again after LOTS OF TEARS, Matt finally called them back for me and asked if we could please still keep the appointment, even if it was warm in there. They begrudgingly agreed, so I calmed down a little, but was still bummed we were going to have to deal with the heat (in JUNE in FL) and I was annoyed that they didn't offer this solution at first themselves. ANYWAY.

    When we got to the shop, it actually wasn't nearly as warm inside as we thought it would be. We went early enough that it still hadn't gotten too hot inside, so I took that as a good sign. I tried on several dresses at first, each one getting better than the last. I was actually pleasantly surprised by this first dress

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    I actually believe, if we were getting married at the WP, I would have bought this dress. But, alas, even though I REALLY liked it, I knew it didn't quite match the "Feel" of my garden wedding. I wanted something a little more sexy and- honestly- a little more figure-flattering.

    I tried on several others, all the while feeling like I was getting closer to "the one". The owner, Dina, was really good at sort of systematically narrowing down dresses based on the pros and cons of each one I had tried on.


    Then... finally.... I tried on THE ONE...


    This was it. Now, mind you, I definitely didn't have that super sobbing moment where I just couldn't believe my eyes. BUT, I knew this was it. I kept looking over at my sister and just shaking my head yes, barely speaking any words. It fit amazing. It was sexy, but classy. It was comfortable. I looked HOT lol. I knew this was it. Surprisingly, also, its BLUSH! I never, EVER thought I would want a blush dress. I've always been a classic Ivory gal. But the blush just looked so great on my skin and, really, you can only really tell at the very bottom, which I like. Here's some more details:

    I love the illusion back. The sample size was obviously too small to close, but the back is GORGEOUS and I can't wait to see it on me when it fits right.
    I also love that in the light, its really bright and light. Its just perfect!!

    We popped champagne to celebrate and I handed over my CC. It was actually RIGHT in my price range, which I also took as a sign! Here's a pic that perfectly captures my face when she told me the price of the dress


    I was so happy and couldn't believe it was actually all coming together, just how I wanted. Even with the craziness of the AC going out, it still was a perfect day.

    After the dress shopping, we went to GF for the Garden View Tea Room to have tea and cakes. I had always wanted to try this experience but never had an event worth spending the $$. This seemed like the perfect after party to celebrate me finding a dress and the official kickoff to the real nitty-gritty of the planning process. The tea was great! Definitely pricey lol and I'm not sure that I would ever really do it again, but it was a unique experience that we all really enjoyed and will remember forever!


    So now we have a dress, the venues, the vendors (more on those later), the date, and our engagement photos done! Next up will be my bridal shower and other little details that came up in the "dog days of summer"!


    Jan 18, 2017
    Vendor List

    So I realized I haven’t told you guys much about our confirmed vendors! Here is the list of everyone we are using.

    Photography: Miranda Grey Weddings
    DJ: Shawn with Subsonic DJs
    Floral/centerpieces: Publix
    Hair and Makeup: Weddings by Crystal
    Men’s attire: Men’s Warehouse
    Dress: Casa di Bella
    Catering: Swan and Dolphin Catering

    So far, we’ve had a really great experience with all of our vendors. I’m really happy with everyone I chose, and I’m hoping that continues through wedding day!

    One thing that I’ve been on the fence about over and over is our decision to not add videography. I know this is one of those things that I’ll end up regretting, but it’s also one of those things that we just cant afford. If I wanted to add it, we’d have to cut so many things that the reception would just be bare-bones. To me, it’s not worth having barely any food or not having the look and feel I’ve always dreamed of in order to get the video. I keep wishing I’ll magically win the lottery or some random extra money will just appear somewhere LOL, but so far no luck there . We are going to set up our Go Pro though for the ceremony, and we do have a friend with some camera equipment who was invited to the wedding anyway who said he would film everything for us.. I know the finished product it won’t be the quality that the videographers can do, what with all the awesome editing and such, but at least it WILL be documented for us to look back on in the future.

    Dog Days of Summer

    Being teachers, matt and I had off from June to late August, and we entered what I like to call the “dog days of summer”. After the engagement photos and my dress shopping, there really wasn’t much on the horizon as far as planning goes until late September. So I had to kind of get creative and find little things for myself to do lol. I started making drawings of our different tables and how I wanted them set up, figured out a preliminary seating chart, and planned out all the funds and in what month they would need to be spent. I made a month by month shopping list, a preliminary itinerary for the week of the wedding, and researched bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts.

    Let me tell you, Summer was hard for me. With no work and nothing really going on, all I pretty much did was sit and obsess over the planning (if you couldn’t tell that from the list above lol). What was I forgetting? What had I not considered? Was there anything I wanted to add? What can I DO right now?! :sad2: I really struggled with the down time and felt like I sometimes had to force myself to NOT think about the wedding because it was stressing me out too much. Thankfully, in late July we went on a 2 week trip to Europe, which really helped my mental state! On the trip, I finally felt like I got a breather from the planning and could really refocus and pull myself out of that obsessive rut. Coming back, I was actually excited to start thinking about the wedding again and planning what I could.

    One of the big things we also did over the summer was go to Men’s Warehouse to get the guy’s attire situated. This was one of those areas I felt I was struggling with a lot in the planning process, because I’m such a visual person and I need to SEE the options/combinations together in order to decide what I like. It was nice to go there and kind of get that sorted.

    I knew first and foremost I didn’t want the guys in full suits. I always visualized them in the vests and ties, but with no jackets and with rolled up sleeves. So I knew about that much lol. Obviously I knew our colors would get worked in, but i didn’t know how. Did I want matt wearing white accents? I know that's traditional...Or dark purple? I'm obviously not super big on tradition lol. Light grey or dark grey for the suits? Or maybe neither- maybe black? Matt was totally up for anything so he was really no help here. He kept telling me he and the guys would wear whatever I wanted to make my vision complete. So it really was up to me lol.

    Going to MW though was really helpful. As we went through the process and I could see swatches of colors side by side, it made it easier to rule things out. They also had some sample suits matt could try on so I could really visualize it. I realized what I really liked was the idea of a colored shirt, rather than white or grey, since the guys won’t be wearing the jackets.. This is what we ended up deciding on:


    Matt will be wearing a dark grey suit with a lilac purple shirt, and a dark purple paisley tie.

    The other guys will be in this light colored suit, with the dark purple tie, but instead of the white shirt, it will be the same color shirt as Matt's.

    Men’s Warehouse is great not only because it’s convenient for everyone, but we are actually able to have the suits delivered to the hotel, for no extra cost! I feel like that is a HUGE bonus because it really takes the responsibility off of the guys and makes the whole experience easier and more enjoyable. I love that they will be delivered on Wednesday and picked up for us the next day. What a service!

    In the end, wrapping up the MW appointment was a pretty huge relief for me. One less thing to stress over and obsess with thinking about. Thankfully, by this point, Summer was almost over. We would be going back to work soon which would help take my mind off of this wedding stuff, at least a little bit. Nothing next on the agenda until my Bridal Shower and Hair and Makeup Trial in September!
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    Jan 18, 2017
    Bridal Shower Woes & Hair and Makeup Trial


    So by this point school has started back up for the year, and I couldn't be more relieved to have a bit of a distraction from all of the wedding planning. Like I mentioned above, the summer really got to me. I struggled so much with obsessing over the wedding, and I was happy to go back to work and be distracted for a bit. Not to mention, work this school year is INSANE. We struggled a bit with our state testing scores, and my administration at my school is basically hitting the panic button and making everyone's lives miserable. So work has DEFINITELY taken back over my life and really taken my mind off of planning and really helped the time fly by! August passed by within the blink of an eye, which brought on September- my favorite month of the whole year! Not only it is my birthday month, but this year it was also the month of my bridal shower! I was really looking forward to this because like I've said before, I never got one of these the first time around. After my first marriage, I really regretted not having those traditional bridal experiences like a shower or formal bachelorette party.

    When my mom asked what I wanted for my shower, this, like the engagement photos, was something I struggled with. As excited as I was for the shower, I'm not very creative and get especially weird when thinking about situations where the attention is all on me. Mind you, I don't mind the attention-lol- but I didn't know what I would want that wouldn't also be cliche or lame. I couldn't see myself having it in the living room of someone's house. But where then would I have it? What type of theme did I want? Did I want to continue with the Disney thing? Or go a different route entirely? Travel theme? Wine themed? Better to start with when we want to have it, LOL. We decided on September, since it was a relatively low time of year for events and holidays.

    When we decided on the time of year we wanted, the only thing that I could really think of was football. Football would just be starting in September. I. Love. Football. The Green Bay Packers to be exact. Could I get away with that? Could I actually HAVE a football themed shower? One day it just hit me all of a sudden- YES, I could! This was MY shower, and a football themed shower sounds like a seriously fun time. So, it was decided- I was going to have a Green Bay Packer themed shower at Marlow's Tavern, a sort of fancy sports bar, and we would have it during a Packer's football game on the opening weekend of the season!

    About a week before the shower, my mom and I went to get our nails done in Green Bay colors, and were sitting in the salon when we happened to glance up at the TV. The news was on, and a forecaster happened to be featuring their "eye on the tropics" weather segment. Being from Florida, you tend to not pay too much attention to those things lol but this one seemed different. The forecaster seemed to be really urging people to take this one seriously. They were saying it COULD sweep out into the Atlantic and totally pass us, but it COULD come our way and pass right over FL. It could also fly into the Gulf as well. UGH. Are you KIDDING me!? First, the BS with my dress and the AC. Now THIS!? Why was EVERY day I was seriously looking forward to getting screwed up by something? I know, I know, at least it's not the wedding day. But I was definitely having a little pity party for myself at this point.

    We waited with baited breath for a few days just hoping, HOPING, this crazy Irma would GO AWAY. So many times, these hurricanes just pass right by us. Or weaken into a strong rain storm. Surely this was going to happen for this one too, right? Nope. Wrong. Each day it got worse, each day the forecasters were increasingly sounding more worried. Cat 3. Cat 4. Cat 5. Not weakening. Not swinging away from FL. Not going into the Gulf.

    By Wednesday, we finally had to call it. At that point, I had long given up my hopes for my bridal shower that weekend. Pretty much by Monday, we were sure, but my mom bless her heart was trying to hold out hope, I think to lift my spirits. Sadly, I wasn't going to get my bridal shower that day. It would have to be rescheduled, and most likely that would mean people I really wanted to be there wouldn't be able to make the new date. We rescheduled for October 8th, as that was the only Sunday for the rest of the year until the holidays my sister/MOH could be there.

    Looking back, and now knowing the destruction and horror Irma wreaked on so many, its hard to still be upset. We ended up having the shower on the 8th without a hitch (more on that later), and I know I'm lucky it was just my bridal shower. I think of all the brides whose weddings were scheduled that weekend. All the people whose venues were destroyed. All of the people who lost their homes, their possessions, everything. We were luckily spared the worst of the storm in East Orlando. We lost power for about 4 days and a window blew out, but thankfully my parents kept power the whole time. The winds were crazy and the cleanup afterwards was a mess, but we were safe and we were spared the worst of it.

    So, there was a lot to be thankful for even with crazy Irma blowing through and ruining the weekend. More to look forward to in October then, and at least I had my hair and makeup trial in a few weeks (my birthday present to myself!) to REALLY look forward to!

    Hair and Makeup Trial

    Woo hoo! The day was finally here! Time to get an idea of what I'll ACTUALLY look like on the big day!

    I scheduled my trial for the day after my birthday, as sort of a birthday present to myself. Not gonna lie, I was a little bummed that my chosen stylist did not offer any trials on the weekends what so ever. I really had wanted to do it for my shower so that I had a reason to have hair and makeup done, but that was clearly not going to happen. So, I decided to take the day off and treat it as a pampering day for myself.

    Once I got my dress, it became clear to me that I really liked the idea of my hair to one side. I wanted loose waves, and I wanted to incorporate some sort of braid. Here was the inspiration I really kept coming back to:
    IMG_6831.PNG hair.jpg

    Another one of my big struggles was WHAT type of hair piece to have. I'm not doing a veil. Even for my first wedding, I didn't have one. I don't know why I just never envision myself being bridal with a veil. Its just not my kind of look I guess. But with no veil, I wanted to have SOMETHING in my hair.

    One day, while shopping at Michaels with my mom for the bridal shower, I found these beautiful pearl and crystal hair pins. I had been leaning towards having pearl accents for my jewelry as it is, because I think it goes with my dress so well, and my "something old" I had always planned on wearing the pearl earrings Matt got me as my first piece of jewelry he gifted me. These pearl pins seemed PERFECT! I didn't know how we would work them in, but I knew they were just what I was looking for.

    So I went to my trial and let me tell you, it was a great experience! Crystal was amazing and so sweet. She was very knowledgeable and listened to me and my concerns and requests. I LOVE how my makeup turned out, because it looks so natural and I look like "me". I had bought extensions off of Amazon (which, by the way, are FANTASTIC. I highly recommend the Remy hair extensions on Amazon!! Cheapo-depot too!), and she seemlessly worked them in so they look like part of my natural hair. I love the style we came up with to incorporate the braid, since she said the side braid on top might look a little strange. I might honestly ask her to still try it out on the wedding day.. I love the back braid she did, but I also feel like the front of my hair needs a little pop. Here's the finished product...


    I think I'm definitely going to also have her tweak the pins. I LOVE them, but I don't like them in this sort of "crown" style that she did them. They are literally just pointy sticks with the pearl and crystals on top, so it's an easy fix. I might have her bunch up 3 or 4 of them at different heights and stick them where the braid meets the curls on the side of my head.

    Overall though, I felt beautiful and gorgeous and all the feels I wanted to feel. I knew that I made a right choice with Crystal and that she would make sure I look and feel my absolute best on the big day. We have her doing 3 girls hair + makeup, 2 girls just makeup, and 1 just hair (my mom). I know she's going to do a great job and the girls are going to look awesome!

    Up next.. the ACTUAL bridal shower and other little details planned out in the Fall! Getting closer to posting in real-time haha can't wait to be all caught up!



    An aura of foreboding...
    Feb 12, 2017
    I am so glad you are all ok after IRMA, and that you were able to reschedule your shower. :)

    I love love love your hair like that. It's so pretty!


    Jan 18, 2017
    My Bridal shower (for real!)
    So it feels like its been forever since I posted LOL I had to remind myself a week and half really wasn't that long! :rotfl:

    So after I had my hair and makeup trial, a few short weeks later was the rescheduled date for my bridal shower. Thankfully, almost everyone who originally RSVP'd was still able to come to the new date, save for my mom's best friend and my Aunt. I was bummed about my Aunt missing the shower, since we are really close, but in the grand scheme of things, it was fine and I was excited to finally have it be the special day!

    We had decided midway through the planning of the shower also that we wanted to make this a coed shower. Originally this wasn't what I envisioned, but when we started getting RSVPs in, we realized that we could kind of use a few more people there to help us eat all of the food LOL and hey, why not let people bring their significant others (and me bring Matt)? It's a football shower after all, so its not like the traditional, super girly-type showers where they would feel awkward.

    We had set the menu a while back with all of my favorite bar food. We even got a small tasting at Marlow's (which we were shocked about!) to be sure we loved all of the food. Here's what we ended up with:

    Chicken Quesadillas
    Mini prime rib French dip sandwiches
    Kettle cooked nachos with all fixings
    Truffle parmesan fries
    Caprese skewers with mozzarella and tomato drizzled with balsamic
    Homemade macarons (made by my sister)

    We also had an unlimited beer and wine bar. We made sure that we could reserve the outside section where they had TVs so we could watch the game. We also lucked out that the week I chose, the Packer's game was actually ON tv (we are considered out of market for Green Bay, obviously, so we don't always get their games aired in this region). It was their matchup with the Cowboys, which meant it was going to be a good game!

    My sister came in for the weekend so we made a bit of a full weekend celebration out of it. On Saturday, we went wine tasting at a local winery, and in the evening went to The Wave for drinks and dessert, followed Magic Kingdom. My sister was actually the most tipsy I've ever seen her, which was hilarious! :laughing: We had a lot of fun in the park riding Space Mountain, the Teacups (not such a good idea when tipsy- should have foreseen that, now it seems quite obvious lol), and the Haunted Mansion.

    On Sunday, it was officially THE day! Thankfully the weather was beautiful and I was particularly excited because there was a football game in London that week, so that means football starts as early as 9:30am! So I really had a full day of football. Again, I really was excited to have these truly bridal experiences. Not having them for my first wedding ended up really affecting me. I always felt I missed out and always wondered what it would be like to have a shower, a bachelorette party, etc. So I was so excited it was finally here!

    The day started out pretty normal, I just drank mimosas pretty much from the time I woke up (LOL) til it was time to get ready. Matt left with my family at around 1:00 to set up for the shower (it started at 3:00), and I started getting ready. I ordered a custom Packer's shirt/jersey that said "The Bride" as the name and our date (16) for the number, and wore white pants. I was the most decked out in Packers gear I think I've ever been! Lol
    22282014_10155847583383060_4391910003023529646_n.jpg 22405968_10155847583388060_8948919659887289106_n.jpg 22310332_10155847584553060_7353409239305316237_n.jpg

    When I arrived at the shower, it was so beautiful! My sister, mom, and bridesmaid Emily did an amazing job setting everything up and decorating the space! It was totally adorable! We had made wine and beer bottle centerpieces with some fake flowers in Packer colors, and they bought just the cutest decorations. We even had a photo booth set up! It was perfect.

    22308656_10155847583408060_7942808613197326705_n.jpg 22366819_10155847583548060_693725228854786306_n.jpg 22279884_10155847583588060_2034098855136594958_n.jpg

    The food was amazing and totally delicious in every way. I honestly wish I was more hungry than I was, cause I feel like I barely ate anything, even though I LOVED everything. The drinks were flowing and everyone was chatting and mingling and having a great time. We had fun with the photo props and took lots of pictures! I wish the Boards would allow more than 10 pictures, because I want to post them all!

    22310440_10155847584093060_8487290796992070626_n.jpg 22366780_10155847584148060_4134405611643207105_n.jpg

    We opened presents and cut cake just before the game started. We were supposed to have a traditional bridal shower game, but my silly mom forgot to bring it, so we decided we'll have to save it for the rehearsal dinner. No biggie. My cake was also SO cute- we had a family friend make it and she did such a great job! It ended up not being the flavor I had asked for (I wanted marble cake with fudge filling, it came out chocolate with fudge filling and I really dislike chocolate cake lol), but that's okay. Everyone else loved chocolate cake, so they loved it lol so I was happy they all enjoyed it, even if I didn't.

    22365215_10155847583813060_160168266005967558_n.jpg (I chose the number 24 since its my favorite number and the date Matt proposed to me)

    The game started and we all just continued drinking and watching. It was a good game as expected, and it was really enjoyable to watch with everyone! Around 5:30, people started leaving, and only my parents, Matt, my grandma, and my Maid of Honor stayed to watch the end of the game. It ended up starting to downpour, so we were kinda stuck at the restaurant until it stopped. But it made for a fun evening and the game actually got SUPER intense in the last few minutes as the Cowboys were driving down the field, making a comeback. Thankfully, the Packers defense held up, and it was a W on the board! :cheer2: A perfect end to the day! :thumbsup2

    I'm so happy with how the shower came out and we had such a blast. I'm actually so glad we ended up having the guys there because not only did it make it more fun, but I had Matt there to help me with mingling and talking to everyone. I'm definitely someone who can get socially awkward and quiet in large groups, so it was nice to have him there to kind of lean on. It was a day I'll always remember and cherish forever! I'm so grateful to my mom (she paid for it all), sister, and friend Emily for all the work they did putting it together. It was the perfect shower for me and I'll always cherish the memories made!


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